Saigon Speaks on New DJ Premier-Produced Album, Love & Hip Hop, Chris Lighty and New York Hip Hop
Speaking on The NY Hip Hop Report radio show, Saigon spoke on a variety of topics, including the next installment of his Greatest Story Never Told album series, which he reveals will largely be produced by DJ Premier.
The former Entourage star and current member of VH1’s Love & Hip Hop, shed light on the path his career has taken, speaking on the label politics that have sidetracked his music career in the past, and his current situation, one he says puts him in the driver’s seat and is allowing him to have complete control over his career.
“I’m more proud of this project than any work I’ve put out up to this point,” Saigon says, talking about his upcoming The Greatest Story Never Told, Chapter 3. “That’s because I was in a position where I was able to do everything my way. I’ve never been in a situation where I could walk into something and not have no label politics, and not have somebody telling me something… This one was 100% me.”
The release, expected in May, will feature production by hip hop titan, DJ Premier.
“It’s executive produced by Just Blaze,” Saigon explained, “but DJ Premier did the majority of the production on the record. Just [Blaze] got a record on there, but DJ Premier is really at the helm.”
Saigon hinted at a creative distribution model in place that will allow him to “monetize different avenues,” in part to make sure the issues that plagued his early career won’t interfere with him being able to capitalize on his current notoriety.
“Atlantic, they dropped the ball,” Saigon said, recalling the difficulties he faced with his early contract. “We had a record with Jay Z, that Jay had cleared. That’s so hard to get from Hov — for any artist — and for an artist that’s not signed to Roc-somthing… If you ain’t Rocafella-something, he ain’t really gonna do that. So for him to do that, and we have the record in the can and they still not be ready to move when we ready to move, that killed me. That’s why I could never go back into that record label system. It’s almost like an assembly line. They do every artist the same way, and every artist is different.”
One of the industry powerhouses to feel the same way about Saigon was management heavyweight Chris Lighty. Saigon spoke on his relationship with the late executive.
“Lighty was someone who took a chance on me. He used to give me jewels, tell me ‘Sai, you’re a different kind of artist, so your climb is gonna be harder than most, but I respect you because you stick by what you believe in.’ So just the gems Chris would drop on me, and the fact he took a chance on me, when he passed was was really hard on me. Cuz he was a good man.”
Now in more control of his musical destiny, Saigon is sticking to his new motto, “Hip Hop My Way,” which is also the title of his upcoming one man show, January 15 at New York’s Pyramid Club. That, and the planned May, 2014 release of TGSNT3, should keep Saigon front and center, especially with the recent focus turning back to New York-styled artists. Saigon was quick to point out, however, that while it may currently be trendy to come back to a New York style, he never strayed from the region’s traditional sound.
“New York abandoned the sound for a long time, now they trying, ‘Yo, let’s bring it back, let’s come back.’ Now it’ s becoming trendy. That’s wack. You abandoned the sound when something else is hot, it’s like you have no sense of direction. Do what comes from in your heart, whether you a DJ, a rapper, breaker B-boy, a popper…”
“This is a culture,” he continued. “You can’t just switch cultures whenever some shit becomes the hot shit. You don’t see nobody else doing that with their culture, like whenever something get trendy, just switch up. I never abandoned the New York sound.”
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